“No Summit is Worth this. I Quit!” — Kangchenjunga; Plus Accident on Makalu

No-O2 climbers struggled today, winds on Everest have delayed the latest push, and a fall on Makalu left a husband-and-wife team bloodied but alive after their successful summit.


Kangchenjunga 8,586m. Photo: Skyrunning


The mountain has shown its less friendly side to those attempting it without supplementary oxygen. Wilco van Rooijen of the Netherlands, who was trying without O2, was suddenly alone in Camp 2 when his partner Cas decided to turn back.

Van Rooijen was realistic about the odds: “Only one climber [Horia Colibasanu] summited without O2, in 20 hours. With O2 =12 [climbers].”

Wilco Van Rooijen. Photo: Wilco Van Rooijen


So in the end, van Rooijen joined forces with Manuel Gonzalez of Spain. With a certain embarrassment, van Rooijen admitted that he finally chose to take two oxygen bottles (six extra kilos) with him for the first time in his life.

Von Rooijen had no personal Sherpa, Gonzalez (with O2) was with Sange Sherpa. They were already high on the mountain and believed that they could reach the top within five hours.

Kangchenjunga. Photo: Manuel Gonzalez/Club Alpino Ama Dablam


However, the three men ran into a problem at 8,100m. Sange had excruciating pain in his feet from his boots. He said that he could not continue with such pain.

Gonzalez decided to abort his own final push and escort Sange down. “Considering different possibilities, I opted for the safest,” Gonzalez said later. “I have taken my capacity for suffering to the extreme for a long time…It is difficult to explain how I feel [about giving up the summit].”

Manuel Gonzalez on Kangchenjunga. Photo: Manuel Gonzalez/Club Alpino Ama Dablam


Van Rooijen was now alone, and doubts began to creep in. “Do I have enough O2?” he wondered. At 500m from the top, he felt that he did not want his life to depend on the oxygen cylinder.

Then he saw a line of 18 climbers, all with O2 and personal Sherpas. The sight discouraged him. “No summit is worth this!” he said to himself. “I quit. I’ve used supplementary oxygen this once but never again. I don’t want my life to depend on a [piece of technology].”

Kangchenjunga. Photo: Manuel Gonzalez


Right now, one more no-O2 climber may be facing such thoughts and doubts. Csaba Varga began his summit push tonight. Today, the Hungarian reached Camp 4 at 7,500m.


Billi Bierling of The Himalayan Database told journalist Stefan Nestler that she gave up her no-O2 attempt at Camp 3. It had taken the 54-year-old Bierling 12 hours to go from Camp 2 (6,460m) to Camp 3 (7,200m).

Fresh snow made the going especially difficult. She did not arrive at C3 until 6 pm. By then, it was too late and she was very tired. Bierling had previously summited six 8,000m peaks, including three without oxygen.

Billi Bierling. Photo: Billi Bierling


However, four other climbers from the Kobler team summited, including two without O2. Four Sherpas also reached the top.

Eighty-three-year-old Carlos Soria is already back in Spain. In an interview, he said he considers the mountain in a dangerous state. He insists that he wants to try Dhaulagiri again. His highest point this time was Camp 3.

One of the Sherpas with the Kobler team on the summit of Dhaulagiri. Photo: Kobler and Partner


Sherpas were finally able to lower the body of Greek mountaineer Antonios Sykaris from 7,400m. Sykaris perished of causes related to exhaustion after summiting Dhaulagiri on April 12.


Some climbers wanted to start the summit push tonight from the South Col, but guide Kenton Cool of the UK wrote a few hours ago that the wind is too strong. As a result, they turned back and will try again tomorrow.

Kenton Cool’s tracker on Everest.



On Lhotse, some climbers also started their summit pushes up the fixed ropes.

Szilard Suhajda of Hungary is proceeding without personal Sherpa support or supplementary oxygen. His last known position was at Camp 3, about to head to Camp 4. He should be on the final push by now.

Szilard Suhajda. Photo: Szilard Suhajda


Accident on Makalu

Mexican couple Yuri Contreras Cedi and his wife Laura Gonzalez both also summited Makalu successfully but had problems on the way down. They claim that their Sherpas left them alone at some point and they had to go partway down by themselves.

The pair were descending today from Camp 3 to Camp 2 and were about 45 minutes from Base Camp. Their report is somewhat unclear, but they were going down a moraine. They had to work their way down a steep section of wall on a rope. Gonzalez was ahead, Cedi behind. When about six metres of the steep section remained, the rope broke. Cedi began to tumble down toward his wife.

Yuri Contreras Cedi after the accident on Makalu. Photo: Yuri Contreras Cedi


When the collision occurred, his wife was able to slow his fall, but they both ended up sliding further. The fall injured both of them. Cedi has a head injury, and the extent of wife’s injuries is not clear. A helicopter will arrive tomorrow.

@KrisAnnapurna reports about outdoor activities, current expeditions, and stories related to the history of mountaineering in the Karakoram, Himalaya, Tien Shan, and other ranges.

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Donal shovlin
Donal shovlin
11 days ago

Wilco is a tough nut to crack , he has been true it all 👍

Break your limits
Break your limits
11 days ago
Reply to  Donal shovlin

What does that mean? Kudos to Wilco for putting up a massive effort and I’m glad he’s back safe. There is however nothing which suggests breaking the limit. We all know the last few metres are hard and it’s difficult to perform above 8000m. Personally, the rationale of looking at other 18 climbers choosing to use O2 and therefore feeling the summit is not worth it is absurd. If the decision is solely based on this, it’s pretentious. If it was based on the fact of performing beyond limits which affected safety it makes sense. For instance, Nirmal Purja just… Read more »

Last edited 11 days ago by Break your limits
3 days ago

Totally agree, it’s a weird way of framing the situation: instead of admitting he wasn’t strong enough to make it to the summit without O2 this time, he’s sneering at other climbers who chose a different style but did summit. Totally unnecessary and not cool.

11 days ago

An update on Lhotse: Skalzang Rigzin climbed Lhotse without O2 and is back safely. He also summited Annapurna with no O2 a couple of weeks ago.

Many cheers.